They say never work with children or animals, but in my experience it can be very rewarding. Kids are able to access their imagination much quicker than grown-ups. And when directing children, it’s important to make sure you lead them, guide them, and are assertive; otherwise they’ll lose confidence in you and take over the entire production based on their whims. If any child actor gives me any crap, like one did a few years ago on the set of another movie, I just threaten to fire them or cut them out of the movie, and that whips them into shape pretty fast.
Thankfully, I had no such problems from Taylor Metzger. She was the first actress I wound up working with on CRESTFALLEN, and it was simply because we were scouting a location, she happened to be there (it was her mom’s house) and the sky was perfect. We immediately got her into wardrobe and brought her out into the field, where she proceeded to run back and forth, over and over again, tirelessly. Since I am a particularly expressive director (I’ve been known to punch my director of photography in the arm over and over again while excited, screaming, “YEAH YEAH YEAH!”) she seemed to respond to that, and grew expressive herself. I like that she took it seriously and worked herself as hard as she could; I like that she did not complain about it at all, ever, and I especially like that she showed up and did her job. She had to be dragged off to bed at the end of the night, sort of bummed out that it was over with.
It was an important role. Russ’s script makes the child the predominant reason why the parent wants to slide back into the world of the living. It’s more than a sense of obligation; it’s a connection. Thankfully, I felt very connected to Taylor, and I’m glad she connected with the movie.
DOMINICK SIVILLI, CINEMATOGRAPHER
Dom is my closest collaborator, more than just a Director of Photography. He has cut all of our latest pictures together, so he’s very involved during multiple steps of the process. And yet Dom never, never reads the script. It’s downright infuriating. CRESTFALLEN was only two pages long (CONTACT was only one!) but Dom is constitutionally incapable of sitting and reading.
Here we are, on the plane to Indiana where we are going to start shooting B-roll that afternoon and principal photography the following day and he turns to me and says, “What’s this movie about again?”
What you have to understand is Dom is reactive, impulsive, and cannot comprehend the image until it plays out before him. What I try to do when working with him is be as verbally articulate as possible, and then allow his poetry to shine through. If you asked Dom what his sensibility was, he’d answer, “Make it look awesome!” or “HMI through a window, smoke it up, soft top light!”
But when you collaborate with him, you understand fully that Dom expresses his philosophy through his work.